Esqueixada is a Catalan salad (esqueixar is Catalan for “to tear”). The fish used in Catalonia is bacalao (salt cod), however because this is hard to source in New Zealand Ernest has a technique for curing it yourself. This will work with thicker fillets of snapper, trevally and any other flaky fish fillets.
- Cover the cod in rock salt. Cover and keep in the fridge for 24 hours. Discard the salt then gently run cold water over it for 15 seconds. Place the fish in a container and cover with cold water and leave for 12 hours in the fridge, changing the water a couple of times.
- Tear the cod into small pieces, discarding any skin or bones, and place in a clean medium sized bowl.
- Blanch the sliced onion in boiling salted water for 10 seconds. Drain then place in a bowl of iced water and gently run water through them for a minute. Drain well.
- Add the onion to the cod then pour on the olive oil and gently mix. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Drain the cod and onion (you can re-use the oil for brushing on fish to go on the barbecue) then mix with the tomatoes and olives. You can refrigerate this mix or eat it straight away.
- Just before serving, mix in the vinegar then lay the fish pieces on the bottom of your plate. Lay the tomatoes and olives on top, and sprinkle with the chives and any flaky salt as needed.